Stu at the office is celebrating his 41st and you need to come up with a gift — you don’t know Stu that well (or you do and you don’t really like him). Maybe you need a stocking stuffer for your ne’er-do-well stepson. Whatever the event, you have constrained yourself to $10, and you’re looking for the best everyday carry items that Mr. Hamilton can buy. Here are your best bets.
The Swiss+Tech Utility Key multitool is a cool addition to anyone’s keyring. It attaches to a keyring securely and blends in with the rest of your keys. It features serviceable flat and Philips screwdrivers, a bottle opener, serrated and straight knife blades, and an eyeglass screwdriver. It weighs no more than an average key and will attract no more attention so you can likely get away with leaving it on your keyring when you go through a metal detector (YMMV, we aren’t providing you with legal advice, no purchase necessary, void where prohibited).
Similar in formfactor to the Swiss+Tech, the CRKT multitool contains a pry bar, flat screwdriver, bottle opener (always) and multi-sized wrench. It is larger and somewhat more cumbersome than the Swiss+Tech, and it definitely isn’t going to fly under any metal detector radars. It works best as a keychain, with your keys attached via a keyring to the round opening and the loop clipped to your belt loop — if that’s how you roll.
If hooking things to your belt loops isn’t really the aesthetic you are looking for, the CRKT is flat enough to be tucked in a pocket and can always be thrown in a glove compartment as a tool of last resort.
There are better pens and there are cheaper pens, but there are no better cheaper pens. The Pilot G2 is a great pen in and of itself — the gel ink makes for a smooth roll and the cartridge replacements are easily found and cheap enough. The Pilot G2 LTD improves upon the plain old G2 with a metal body and ergonomic grip. Its weighty enough to feel expensive, but lightweight (and cheap) enough to take with you in your everyday carry.
LED flashlights have revolutionized the flashlight industry. Bulbs necessarily required a certain amount of bulk in a lamp — both in terms of the actual bulb and housing with heat dissipation and the battery required. LEDs have made pen lights, lights truly useful and truly the size of a pen, a commodity.
The Hatori Small LED Cree Flashlight throws 600 lumens and is powered by 2 AAA batteries. While it won’t be the brightest light, if you are still using traditional incandescent flashlights you will be surprised by how powerful it is. The main selling point of the Hatori is its low cost and small form factor — easily sliding in to your pocket or clipping to your belt.